Dress code to Reproductive Health Bill: Dissent in Ateneo de Manila University
I found that the Ateneo de Manila University’s Rizal Library (and other offices) does not allow anyone to enter who are improperly dressed:
- Soiled clothes
- Lounging/gym/athletic/cycling shorts
- Short shorts
- Lounging/gym/athletic tops and sleeveless shirts (for men)
- Low-cut/backless/strapless tops and bare midriff
- Very short skirts/dress
- Very low-rise jeans (low-waist)
- Slippers – type of footwear consisting of a sole secured to the foot by straps over the instep only (Y-shaped strap)
- Other kinds of clothing that run counter to the guidelines in the memo on the Dress Code dated 6th December 2007.
This dress code is very revealing (pun intended): it reveals that the number of students wearing improper/indecent attire has grown enough to alarm the administration. And so far, the administration can only impose its rules only within the school offices. Outside these offices the students are free to dress as they like, even though they are still within the school campus.
Modesty is the guardian of chastity. The Catechism says:
Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.
Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the de definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one’s choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.
I remembered years ago when this issue came out. Some (many?) students and teachers denounced it. If Ateneans cannot obey a simple rule as the dress code, how can they obey weightier rules such as “artificial contraception is intrinsically evil” as taught by Pope Paul VI in his Humanae Vitae? Remember Christ’s parable of the talents? If we can be trusted with little things, we can also be trusted with greater things. Thus, with this moral climate at the Ateneo de Manila University, we should not anymore wonder why many of its professors signed in support of the Reproductive Health Bill currently debated in the Congress, in defiance of the Church’s teaching authority.
Let me end with a sad quote from Shakespeare:
O mighty [Ateneo]! dost thou lie so low? Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils,
Shrunk to this little measure? Fare thee well.
(c.f. Anthony to Caesar)